How to do the Straight Ankle Lock In BJJ

How to do the Straight Ankle Lock In BJJ

With the leg lock fade sweeping through Jiu Jitsu right now, more grapplers than ever are learning these effective techniques. Although some who do IBJJF competitions tend to avoid these techniques due to the strict rule set. But there is one super effective leg attack that is IBJJF legal and even allowed at the white belt level – the straight ankle lock in BJJ.  

Straight Ankle Lock

The straight ankle lock is tried and tested submission that is just as effective as other leg locks. There are numerous ways to do the straight ankle lock and we’re going to show you how to do them. We’ll first show you the origins of the submission and then breakdown some of the most popular setups. Check it out! 

The Straight Ankle Locks Origins

Every type of grappling art has a technique for the straight ankle lock from BJJ, Judo, catch wrestling, and sambo. In Judo, the submission is called Ashi-Hishigi, which translates to achilles lock.  

In all of these grappling martial arts, the finish for each is basically the same. You use the blade of your wrist to put painful pressure on the opponents’ achilles tendon forcing them to submit. 

The Basic Straight Ankle Lock

A basic straight ankle lock from 50/50 is pretty straightforward, but it does have a few important details. First grip your arm around the opponent’s foot and put your hand to your just like you’re saying the pledge of allegiance. In No-Gi your other hand goes on top of this hand and in Gi, you can grab your only collar.  

Next details are about food placement, which is really important. Go toe to heel with your inside foot’s toes touching your outside foot’s heel.   

Both feet are connected and pushing against the opponent’s hip to keep them from defending. For the finish turn onto the ankle, turn your body, and apply pressure for the finish.  

Dean Lister is a master of leglocks and shows all of these steps in this video. 

Straight Ankle Lock Method in BJJ By Imanari

Masakazu Imanari is another master of leglocks and has a great method of executing a straight ankle lock in BJJ.  

Imanari wraps the foot up with his armpit on top of the opponent’s foot for control and to bend it.  For feet placement your inside foot hooks under the opponent’s leg, while the outside leg pushes against their hip. 

It’s super tight and watch the video to see Imanari show all of the details

Straight Ankle Lock Method #3

In this method to get the straight ankle lock, your foot placement is a little different than the others. For this technique both of your feet will be pushing against their hips with your legs tight around their leg.  

Doing this method keeps the opponent from sitting up and defending your submission attempt. High level grappler Luiz Panza shows a great demonstration on how to do this technique. 

Straight Ankle Lock From the Standing Position

An opportunity for a straight ankle lock can open up when you’re trying a standing pass and the opponent defends. Grab one of the opponent’s legs with the same side grip and pass it across their other leg. Then step your other that leg over to lock it in place with a figure four.  

Then all you need to do is wrap around their ankle and sit down to finish this tight submission. Ricardo Calvacanti shows excellent details for this technique in this video. 

Key Details To Remember

Here are the key details to remember when trying to lock in a straight ankle lock on your opponent. These details are important and will ensure you submit your opponent when you catch them in this submission. 

  • Use The Blade Of Your Wrist: One big mistake many use when trying to do a straight ankle lock is they use their forearm. This will not put sufficient pressure on the opponent’s ankle and they will most likely escape.  This is why you need to use the inside blade of your wrist. This bony par of your wrist is much harder and is what will put pressure on their ankle tendons forcing them to tap. Think of it like a guillotine choke on the ankle. Always remember to use the blade of your wrist when doing a straight ankle lock – you’ll put a ton more pressure! 
  • Control Their Toes: An opponent can defend a straight ankle lock by locking out their foot and tensing up. To prevent them from doing this defense you need to control the top of their foot including their toes.   Use the back of your tricep to hold the top of the opponents foot in place. It causes their foot to arch exposing their ankle and preventing them from straightening out their foot to defend. 
  • Legs Tight: You always need to have your legs tight around the leg you’re attacking. This goes for all leg attacks and not just the straight ankle lock. If there's space for the opponent to move, they can defend and escape your submission attempt. 
  • Control Above the Opponent’s Knee: This is another tip you need to know for all types of leg locks, as well. To do a successful straight ankle lock, you must be controlling the opponent above their knee. Otherwise, they can push your legs down and start to escape. 
  • Use Your Whole Body: You don’t just use your arms to finish this submission. Remember to use your whole body and arch your back to get optimal pressure on their ankle. Sometimes it’s even more effective to put your belly down on the mat – this gives you a wider range to arch your back and really put some serious pressure on their ankle.   

How To Defend The Straight Ankle Lock

On top of knowing how to do a straight ankle lock, you must know how to defend them. Here are a few methods for defending the straight ankle lock. 

  • Straighten Your Foot: To complete the ankle lock, the opponent needs your foot arched down at an angle to submit you. So,straighten out your foot and tighten up your leg. You’re still in trouble, but this will buy you time to escape the submission. 
  • Stand Up: The worst thing you can do for any leg lock is fall to your back. So do the opposite of this and stand up to start defending the straight ankle lock attempt. Your opponent can still sweep you to get the sub, but from standing you can defend the submission and escape. 
  • Separate The Opponent’s Leg: If you need to have your legs tight on the leg you’re attacking, you need to separate them to escape. Separate the opponent’s legs, move to the side, or stand up, and work to get your ankle free.
  • Get Your Knee Free: For any leg lock to work, you must be controlling the opponent’s leg above their knee. If you can get your knee free by pushing up on the opponent’s legs, your chances of escape increase dramatically. 

Final Thoughts

To be a more complete grappler, you must know how to attack all parts of the body. This definitely includes the legs!  

The straight ankle lock in BJJ  is going to be the first leg lock you should know when entering the world of leglocks. It is effective, relatively simple, and IBJJF legal. Don’t ignore 50% of the human body and start practicing the straight ankle lock.